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Find out more about all aspects of our fundraising…

Our fundraising is built on meaningful relationships, underpinned by trust, respect, authenticity, integrity, and a shared commitment to protecting the ocean as one of humanity’s most vital resources.

We want ALL our donors to feel connected to our work, to our people, and to truly understand the incredible impact of their donations.

Download our SAMS Fundraising FAQs for more information.

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Fundraising FAQs

At SAMS we do not undertake any fundraising activity that we think doesn’t reflect the spirit of our values as an organisation. As such, we do not undertake the following practices:

- Mass telephone fundraising appeals (in-house or third party)

- Mass unaddressed direct-marketing fundraising appeals (third party)

- Outgoing SMS fundraising appeals

- Door-to-door fundraising campaigns

- Face-to-face street fundraising

All fundraisers working on behalf of SAMS (whether a benevolent fundraiser, a professional fundraiser, a wider member of the SAMS team, a third-party operative, or in a volunteer capacity) will:

- Act with fairness, integrity and in accordance with all applicable fundraising and charity laws

- Listen to the donors wants and needs

- Adhere to relevant professional codes of ethics and standards

- Never suggest that fundraising activity is without cost

- Not accept philanthropic donations for purposes that are inconsistent with the charity mission

Fundraising is the life blood of many Scottish charities, and we need to raise funds from voluntary sources. We could not fulfil our charitable mission without the support of generous, thoughtful and committed donors. We value the support of donors and understand the need to balance our duties to beneficiaries, with our duties to donors.

That’s why we make this commitment to you.

We will comply with the law as it applies to charities and fundraising and we commit that we will guarantee to adhere to best practice as outlined in the Code of Fundraising Practice.

We will monitor fundraisers, volunteers and third parties working with us to raise funds, ensuring that they also comply with this Code of Practice.

We guarantee to operate in line with the values of the Code; to be Legal, Open, Honest and Respectful in all our fundraising.


To promote and underpin these values, we commit to the following standards:

- We will be clear about who we are and what we do

- We will give a clear explanation of how you can make a gift and change or stop a regular donation

- If you do not want to give or wish to cease giving, we will respect your decision

- We will respect your rights and privacy

- We have a procedure for dealing with people in vulnerable circumstances and it will be published on our website or will otherwise be available on request

- We will hold your data securely

- We will communicate with you in accordance with your selected preferences.

If you feel we have not adhered to these standards, or think we could do better please contact Julie Platt, Head of Development on fundraising@sams.ac.uk and we will deal with your complaint quickly and thoroughly.

We commit to ensuring our complaints process is clear and easily accessible and we will provide clear and evidence-based reasons for our decisions on complaints.

However, should you be dissatisfied with our response, you will be able to take this further by contacting the Scottish Fundraising Adjudication Panel: info@goodfundraising.scot


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Gift Aid is a Government scheme that allows registered charities to claim the basic rate tax back from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on every pound donated.

This means that for every £1 you donate, we can claim back 25p, making your donation worth £1.25 at no extra cost to you.



If you are a UK taxpayer, then you are eligible to check the box for GiftAid.

If you’re not employed, you can still be eligible for Gift Aid providing you are paying tax on things like a personal pension, stocks and shares, savings accounts, rental income or investments.

The crucial thing to remember is that you must ensure that what you pay in income and capital gains tax at least equals the amount that we (and any other charities you have checked GiftAid for) will claim against your donations in that tax year.

The HMRC website has a complete guide on Gift Aid eligibility if you are still unsure.

How to enable us to claim GiftAid

You only need to make a Gift Aid declaration to us once and it is then valid for all gifts in the future. You can check the box if donating online or download this declaration form: SAMS Gift Aid Form

If your circumstances change (like your address, your name, or if you are no longer eligible for GiftAid) or you simply want to cancel your declaration, you can contact us at any time on fundraising@sams.ac.uk.

Higher-rate taxpayers

If you are a higher-rate taxpayer, you can claim the difference between the lower rate tax (which we claim) and the higher rate of tax (that you have paid). This means it costs you less for your gift to have more impact. Speak to your own independent financial advisor about what is best for your specific situation.

Find out more about Gift Aid here: SAMS Gift Aid FAQs.

If you have made a donation via the SAMS website, or via a contactless donation point, and would like to obtain a refund, please contact us directly either by emailing fundraising@sams.ac.uk or calling 01631 559000 and asking to speak to the Development team.

You have up to a week to change your mind regarding your donation, although we will look at refund requests on a case-by-case basis.

We will require details including your name, email address, how you made the donation and the date of donation so we can find you on the system. We can cancel the payment (if it’s still pending) or provide you with a refund once funds have cleared. Refunds will be issued on request for digital donations made in error, or if you have simply changed your mind. Refunds can take 3-14 working days from authorisation.Refunds will only be made onto the card used during the original transaction.

If you wish to cancel a Direct Debit, you can do this at any time directly through your bank. Please simply notify us at fundraising@sams.ac.uk so we can update your record. If you are struggling to contact your bank, or don’t have ready access to online banking, please contact us and we will cancel your Direct Debit mandate.

If you have made a donation through one of our third-party providers, please contact us directly so we can authorise a refund as the receiving charity. Terms of the refund will depend on those of the platform.

Making a complaint about fundraising should be simple.

As a charity registered only in Scotland, we’ve adopted the Scottish Fundraising Adjudication Panel’s three-stage model for dealing with complaints from donors or potential donors about our fundraising activities. By doing so we’re showing our commitment to best practice.

Stage one: Complain directly to SAMS

Contact us directly by either emailing the team at fundraising@sams.ac.uk or calling us on 01631 559000. We will try to resolve the issue there and then if possible or direct you to the best possible department to deal with your complaint.

If we are unable to solve the problem straightaway or if you are not happy with the resolution, we will listen carefully to you, inviting you to make suggestions about how it could be resolved, and take careful notes of the complaint along with your contact details. We will then set about resolving the situation. An update will be issued to you within 5 working days about the actions that have or will be taken.

Alternatively, we will provide you with our contact details so that you can put your complaint in writing to the charity in your own timeframe. Once received, we will update you within 5 working days about the actions that have or will be taken.

On rare occasions we may choose not to respond to a complaint. These can include if someone unreasonably pursues a complaint we have responded to, or if a complainant is abusive or aggressive. We cannot respond to anonymous complaints however we will still take investigative measures and make suitable improvements if applicable.

Stage two: Complain to the charity trustees at SAMS

If you are not happy with the resolution at stage one with our staff team, then we will provide details of how you can raise your complaint with our trustees, or we will escalate this on your behalf.

We will:

- Send an acknowledgment within 5 working days of receipt

- Provide a full response within 20 working days of the acknowledgement being sent, or if this is not possible advise you of when you will likely receive a response

- Try to address all the points of your complaint when responding

- Take action to address the problem if necessary.

- In this case, we will tell you what these actions are, why we’re taking them and when it will happen

Stage three: Complain to the Panel

Once you have been through our complaints process, if you still don’t feel your complaint has been resolved, then you can contact the Scottish Fundraising Adjudication Panel directly.

We can help you on how to do this by providing contact details for the Scottish Fundraising Adjudication Panel:

- Email: complaints@goodfundraising.scot

- Online form: https://goodfundraising.scot/make-a-complaint/

The Panel will decide if:

- The complaint is one they can look at

- The complaint is ready for them

- Whether there has been a breach of the Fundraising Code of Practice

- Whether there has been a breach, and what, if any, action is needed?

- Whether there are any regulatory matters, which should be referred to the OSCR or (ICO) where a breach of data protection may have occurred

- SAMS will work with the Panel to resolve the situation, responding to any requests for information made in relation to the details of the complaint, until a resolution is reached.

Charitable giving is hugely impactive to SAMS; providing us with vital funds to achieve our mission. We carry out a variety of marketing activities to seek individuals’ support for our work, ranging from appeals for one-off donations, to larger fundraising campaigns for specific projects.

Opting into these communications is explicit in your communications preferences, but there are circumstances when SAMS will use legitimate interest to ensure our fundraising activities are appropriate.

Due diligence

To ensure suitable solicitations for major gifts, we operate a Know Your Donor Policy, and therefore may seek publicly available information to help us build a profile to understand those who may be considering and/or willing to make a large gift to SAMS.

We use a variety of public access sources to obtain such profiling information including newspaper websites, business publications, the official websites of companies, charities and foundations, and the following:

- Official websites such as the Charity Commission, OSCR, HMRC or Companies House

- Published materials (including annual reviews and accounts)

- The use of general internet searches (news articles, other charity websites)

- Social media platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram

- Specialised Trust search engines (such as Grantfinder and Trust Funding)

- Hard copy sources such as Who’s Who or the DSC Trust Register

We may also use these and other public Governmental sources when undertaking due diligence to detect fraud, money laundering and credit risk in order to protect the reputation of the charity, including:

- The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI)

- Proscribed terrorist groups or organisations

- List of designated persons

- Bankruptcy and insolvency register

- Automatic disqualification list (charities)

- Tainted donations policy (HMRC)

Our know your donor due diligence checks are made commensurate to the size of gift, and what is reasonably expected of us by our regulators. We may also ask a third-party fundraising organisation to support this activity, providing they are operating within all current GDPR legislation.

SAMS does not undertake wealth screening activities of its marketing, fundraising or membership databases using third-party processing. SAMS will never sell your data under any circumstances.

Our business need will determine the length of time for which personal information will be retained.

- Information connected to donations, gifts and sponsorship agreements will be retained until seven full financial years have elapsed since a donors’ last gift. This is for audit purposes.


- The records of Donors who have expressed an interest in leaving a gift in their Will to SAMS will be retained until they expressly state that they will not be leaving such a gift.


- Information required for the purpose of legacy administration will be retained for ten full financial years after the gift has been received and the estate has been closed. This is for audit purposes.